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Claiming For Pothole Damage To Cars

Claiming For Pothole Damage To Cars

It’s an ongoing saga. Every year the harsh winter weather damages our roads and causes the dreaded potholes. Every year motorists complain and every year little or nothing is done to alleviate the problem. Government and Councils cite lack of funds blah, blah, and the saga continues.

The root cause of this problem is the neglect of our roads over decades as money that should be spent on maintenance has been diverted to other areas, thus ensuring a plentiful supply of premium biscuits at council meetings and town-twinning trips to somewhere nice and warm. Fact finding is vital to the running of local councils, clearly.

Well, here’s a couple of facts. At the time of writing this, it is reported that there are 19,000 different sets of road works currently ongoing around the country. Also during 2013 some two million potholes will be attended to. This is being used as evidence that action is being taken on roads – which is good – so why is that British drivers are reporting that road quality is not improving? Twenty two percent have further stated that highway repairs actually make the road surface worse and sixty one percent still reckon that road quality is declining! Something’s wrong.

The answer can surely only be that the repairs themselves are being done on the cheap to dress up the ravages of time, wear and tear, like cheap make-up on an ageing drag queen. Nothing will change until some major investment takes place and in the meantime hard-pressed motorists must present their claims for compensation to the implacable stone face of local government.

This is a problem that all aggrieved drivers come up against. Tell your local council that their negligence has caused costly damage to your car and they will if at all humanly possible absolve themselves of responsibility based on Section 58 of the Highways Act 1980. (Note: It’s too long for this article but you can read it here).

Claimants have to persevere and keep their cool. Don’t immediately rush to court or hire a solicitor – if you are going to get anywhere it is going to be a long hard road. Ensuring safety as a priority, take a photo of the pothole, measure it, and, if possible, show the proximity of the car and also the damage to your car. Report the whole thing to the council. Submit a Freedom of Information Act request to ascertain how frequently the road is inspected and maintained. There are standards that councils must abide by. You will also want to know how many previous complaints there have been about that pothole and that stretch of road.

If the powers that be have stuck to the rules then your chances of making a successful claim are supermodel slim. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it your best shot. A trawl of the internet will quickly highlight a number of organisations devoted to helping you fight the scourge of potholes. Read avidly.

The knowledge that the people responsible for the job can so easily absolve themselves of blame is a hard thing to take but paying possibly hundreds of pounds for damage not of your making is also a bitter pill. Motorists have rights too. Make sure you stand up for yours and also make sure your local Member of Parliament is kept fully informed. It is only by keeping up the pressure that we can achieve the goal of enjoying decent roads which we do, after all, pay for.

This post was written by:

- who has written 474 posts on Motor Blogger.

Geoff is a freelance writer and photographer.

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2 Responses to “Claiming For Pothole Damage To Cars”

  1. Ben says:

    My dad has had big problems with potholes, you’re right that we do pay for our roads and it is important to properly deal with these imperfections.

    • Geoff says:

      Thanks for your comment Ben. Damage to cars through negligence is increasing despite the usual protestations that more money is being spent.
      Example: On a road near me a recurring pothole has been reapired three times in five years. It has just been done again and is already starting to lift. Answer – try doing it properly!

      Geoff

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